Tuesday, November 28, 2006


False economies:(. Having posted several times in the realclimate forum, I sense a culture, one feature of which is economic naivety. When anyone new posts, many forum contributors feel that you are either for them or against them. For a serious answer to a challenge, it seems that you have to structure it such that you take their "climate world view" as gospel for a starting point.
So far, my challenge to the scientists there to the scientific validity of attributing deaths due to weather events (demonstrably a chaotic system) to changes in climate remains unanswered. Causality is on tenuous ground here, unlike geologic temperature records, extreme weather event statistics are available for an infinitesmally small time period. It is impossible to know whether extreme weather events (drought,floods,hurricanes) are more or less prevalent in previous times of higher CO2 and temperatures. If ocean temperatures were deterministically generating them, they should be more easily forecast year by year using ocean thermometers than they are. It is entirely plausible that high enough temperatures may suppress more extreme events than are caused.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Could be as much as (enter own exaggeration)

This is one of the themes from Bjorn Lomborg's infamous book. It is not lying - It isn't even necessarily an exaggeration, but it encourages people to only talk about alarming figures that are at the far edge of expectations. It doesn't help that the media only reports the alarming "Coulds" and ignore the opposite (eg. any economist which states - there could actually be no net cost to the world due to global warming.) Basically, the outside chance of avertable complete global catastrophe should at least be considered against the possibility that global warming could prevent something that would otherwise cause complete global catastrophe. Basically, putting my scientist hat on, 1)we should concentrate the most on the middle of expectations, 2) note that global conflict, trade and other dynamics will greatly influence trend lines and 3) Make sure the myriad other environmental risks are given sufficient priority and scrutiny.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Banana Republic

Dr. Clam said...
Rereading your post reminds me- have you read Jared Diamond's "Collapse: How Societies Chose to Succeed or Fail" yet? Apparently both the Easter Islanders and the Norse colonists on Greenland began their precipitous slides toward disaster when they allowed banana imports from overseas. Amazing but true!

3:12 PM

Hence the term "Banana Republic" resonates true :). I kind of want to read the book, but I fear it is absolutely great on accurate history and makes grand points about the environment, but fails to abstract a technical theory from it. I feel that to apply what we learn from distinct (separate) cases from history, we have to abstract mathematical models (or at least game theory models) that explain what is happening. It is of absolutely no consequence if the author allows the reader to come to whatever conclusion they like such as - "That means we've got to stop killing whales, right?" or some general environmental platitude like: Lets dramatically subsidise renewable energy.

Without even reading the various examples in the book, I still think they correlate closely to the "tragedy of the commons". Game theory can be used to simulate those examples - then similarities can be compared to the modern world to see if certain fish stocks are going to become extinct, whether pollution is destined to keep increasing, whether drought in Africa is going to cause mass famine etc. EnviroGeometeorologists can predict future temperature rises all they like, but have they even thought of applying game theory to see how the reactions and/or competitive pressure and fears of disaster change the likely future. In a few short years, the world seems to have gone from a free for all for using resources as economy dictates, to a fractured world where fear in some has completely changed the resource economies, while the relatively resource poor have continued to demand them.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The unemployment rate is too goddam low!

As a business manager, I got used to the times when I would put an ad in the paper and you would interview a few people for a job. You would get one or two that you wondered why they didn't already have a job. Nowadays, just to get *one* applicant, I had to advertise higher than award rates; and the applicants are interviewing me! They have a list of current job offers and dictate their terms if I am interested to have the pleasure of their service. Businesses suffer in this way when the economy is going so well. It is of little comfort that you can more easily downsize when it is so hard to find and keep staff at all.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Schicksalstag 9/11

17th anniversary of Germany's "day of fate". So - How's the new world order going? Some of the wounds of WWII were healed, but the emergent uni-polar world has lost direction. The affluent peaceful lifestyle of the West is much more able to be held hostage by militarily insignificant actions. Threats from known enemies have given way to weasel attacks.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where has that month gone

I've been so meaning to write things so often in the last few weeks, but I am having trouble keeping sane enough (if that makes any sense). Once, I did a whole post, proofread it and thought *What am I thinking; I can't write that!*. If you are interested, it was somewhat about the benefits of importing bananas to the local banana farmers, the benefits of eliminating tariffs on clothing for local manufacturers, and the necessity to marginal employees of banning unfair dismissal lawsuits.

Basically, in North Queensland, it is taboo to say that banana imports can lead to anything other than unmitigated disaster.

It is taboo also within the clothing industry, to say that there should be no protection from imports.

It is also taboo to think that unfair dismissal lawsuits hurt most the people it is designed to protect.

It is highly foolish of me to think I can make any headway into relaxing these taboos.